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10 Common Questions from First-Time Sellers

While selling your first home is probably not quite as nerve-wracking as buying your first, it’s still an exciting and emotional time. Sellers are often conflicted about clearing out a home full of memories in order to stage and prepare it for sale but also eager to get top dollar out of their investment and move on to fresh beginnings. I’m energized and excited every time I get to help someone navigate the real estate market in this city and strategize the best way to market and sell a home. Here are 10 very common questions that I get asked from first-time sellers:

Q: How much is my home worth?

A: I wish there was an easy answer to this one, because it’s the most common question that I hear from sellers, first-time and experienced alike! There’s no simple formula for this, rather the value of homes and condos, especially in our city, is ever-changing and often depends on what a buyer is willing to spend for it. However, there are a number of important and reliable ways to get a solid and dependable estimate on what your home is worth. I’ll look at historical data, competitive properties in your area, comparable recent sales and of course all the specific elements your property brings to the table. Things like upgrades, parking, proximity to schools and shopping all affect the value and working with an experienced agent will be your greatest resource in determining how much your home is worth. You can contact me for an estimate anytime!

Q: Is now a good time to sell my house?

A: No easy answer for this one either, I’m afraid. While February, March and September tend to garner the biggest returns on average, I’ve sold homes mid-summer for huge amounts over asking! The best strategy and timing to sell your property is something that you should discuss with an experienced agent who can help you review the market and choose an effective strategy for your specific property and situation.

Q: Do I need an agent in order to sell my home?

A: The first two questions both ended with my recommendation that you enlist an experienced agent, so you can probably see which way I lean on this one. Technically no, you do not need an agent to sell your home. Bias aside, almost all sellers use an agent to sell their homes and the amount of knowledge, time and energy required to get the best value out of your home is not to be undervalued! Unless you are very experienced with negotiations and extremely well-versed in the market, hiring an agent is always going to be in your best interest.

Q: How do I know if an agent is the right person to sell my home?

A: Finding an agent that fits you and your family is the first step to a successful sale and just like entering into any partnership it’s best to ask the right questions and find someone with a great track record and plenty of solid recommendations. I find this question to be so important that I’ve got an entire article just answering it! Read Top Questions to Ask Before Hiring An Agent here.

Q: What should I do to prepare my home for sale?

A: Preparing a home for showings can be a lot of work but always worth the investment in time and dollars. A well-maintained, clutter-free and appealing space will go the distance when it comes to getting multiple and strong offers on your property. We will discuss many things that you can do in your specific space before we start to show it, but check out this helpful guide, Preparing Your Home for Sale: The Ultimate Checklist, for a good overview on how you can get your home in tip top shape.

Q: Do I need to pay land transfer tax when I sell my house?

A: Nope! Land transfer tax is always paid for by the buyer. Of course, assuming you’re buying your next home after selling this one, you will pay land transfer tax on that end.

Q: What are the costs associated with selling my house?

A: While there is always a lot of talk about the costs associated with buying a new home, cost associated with selling are not always as top of mind. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any! Costs when selling can vary greatly. Things to be aware of include the real estate agent’s commission, on average around 5% and split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents. There will be legal fees, usually around $500 or so. Plus, any costs associated with preparing your home such as repairs and staging. There will also be moving costs and, assuming you’re also buying a new home, you’ll need to pay land transfer tax on that purchase.

Q: Do marketing plans and open houses really help sell to a house?

A: Yes! No good business person would go about trying to sell a product without a marketing plan. Same goes for you home. There are various tactics involved in marketing a property and simply listing it on the MLS is often not enough to find you you the best buyer or get you top dollar. An open house, while not a requirement, is an effective part of most marketing strategies. They will get more people through your home and you’ll often see interested buyers come back during an open house to see the space again after a private viewing. They will attract passers-by and generate a word-of-mouth buzz around your neighbourhood.

Q: Will I have to move out while my house is being shown?

A: While moving out of your home is not always necessary, being away from the property during viewings is essential. You need to give potential buyers the privacy to roam and discuss the space at their leisure. Furthermore, you want buyers to be able to see the house on their schedule, which often means evenings and weekends. If you have children that need to be in bed at 7:30pm, you may find it easier to stay somewhere else temporarily while your house is being shown. Plus, it’s much easier to keep it clean and tidy if you’re not living there.

Q: Should I set an offer date or accept offers anytime as they come in?

A: This is all part of the strategy that we’ll put together when discussing the best way to market and sell your specific property, but holding back offers for a set day and time is a common tactic for selling in this market. If you prefer to accept offers at anytime, this is an option as well and I’d be happy to discuss the pros and cons of each option with you during our initial conversations.